Updated January 4, 2021: Due to COVID-19, food banks are experiencing a sharp increase in need. You can support your local food banks by participating in the Burien Virtual Empty Bowls fundraising event. Empty Bowls events raise money across the country to combat hunger in our communities.
There is nothing more essential than food. Not only can we not survive without it, but it also plays a central role in how communities and families connect. Hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Many families in Burien are just one job loss or medical crisis away from food insecurity.
In 2013, 24 percent of Burien households reported running out of food and not having enough money to buy more. This was the fourth highest rate in King County.* Lack of adequate food can affect both physical and mental health. According to Communities Count, children who grow up in homes without enough food are at increased risk of illness, and of experiencing academic and psychosocial problems.
Food banks play a critical role in our response to hunger and food insecurity. The City provides funding for two area food banks.
White Center Food Bank
The White Center Food Bank began in the mid-1970s as an emergency response to assist struggling families and individuals in the greater White Center and Highline areas during a major economic downturn. Much like today, many in the community were facing difficult economic conditions that left them in need of emergency food resources.
In 1982, the White Center Emergency Food Association was formally incorporated and is today known as the White Center Food Bank. Current programs include daytime, evening, and seniors-only food distributions; Mobile Food Bank Program for seniors and disabled clients; a Baby Pantry for diapers, formula, baby foods and equipment; community demonstration gardens and P-patches; cultural foods buying program; and grocery rescues and cooking demonstrations that double as nutrition lessons. Intake services are provided in four languages, and all written materials are provided in five languages.
Service area: The White Center Food Bank serves residents in the community bordered by SW Myrtle St. (to the north, in West Seattle) to 140th St. SW (to the south, in Burien) between Puget Sound and State Route 509.
Location: 10829 8th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98146
Phone: (206) 762-2848
- Monday: 12–4 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Thursday (seniors only): 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Food distribution is by appointment.
How to access food
The White Center Food Bank offers customers a diversity of services, providing food assistance and nutrition programs, and home delivery and a mobile food bank for those with special needs, as well as a baby pantry for diapers, baby food, and other newborn needs
All customers are provided with Healthy Food Gift Certificates that can be redeemed at local grocery partners including, the Samway Market, Lee’s Produce Market, and Hung Long Asian Market.
How to donate
The White Center Food Bank accepts food donations Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monetary donations are accepted in person, through their website, or text-to-give platform 206-745-3901.
The White Center Food Bank was awarded $18,000 for food bank support in 2017 from the City of Burien Human Services Fund. They served 3,450 Burien clients and distributed over 448,000 pounds of food to Burien families.
Highline Area Food Bank
The Highline Area Food Bank is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the gathering and the distribution of food for those in need in the Burien and greater Highline area.
A group of churches in 1983 started the Trinity Church Food Bank and the John Knox Food Bank. With the continued demand for food from an increasing population and limited space, a group of seven churches formed in 1995 the Highline Area Food Bank. In 1996, the Highline Area Food Bank moved into the Manhattan Community Hall.
Location: Manhattan Community Hall, 18300 4th Avenue South, Burien, WA
Phone: (206) 433-9900
Service area: The Highline Area Food Bank service area includes:
- North of 192nd St.
- South of 116th St.
- East of State Route 509 – 140th St.
- West to Puget Sound
- East to Pacific Highway S/Military Road
How to access food
Distribution Hours: Tuesdays 12:00–2:30 p.m., Thursdays 10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., and the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month 5:30–7:00 p.m.
How to donate
Food bank donations can be dropped off at the Normandy Park QFC. According to their website, they are looking for:
- Canned food: tomatoes, sauce, meat, tuna, soup, fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jelly
- Meal in a can: chili, stew, ravioli, etc.
- Meal in a box: burger/tuna helper, macaroni and cheese. etc.
- Packaged food: pasta, cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, rice, beans, etc.
- Hygiene products: shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, feminine products, deodorant.
- Baby supplies: diapers (medium and large), diaper wipes, formula, baby food.
The Highline Area Food Bank was awarded $18,000 for food bank support in 2017 from the City of Burien Human Services Fund. They had more than 19,800 visits from 3,222 Burien residents. They distributed over 617,000 pounds of food to Burien families.
*Households that ran out of food, King County (2011, 2013), Communities Count.
Editor’s Note: This is a story in our continuing series highlighting organizations that receive City of Burien Human Services Funding.